DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) — A man is in custody after he tried to get into a Derby grade school Tuesday morning. When police arrested him, they said he had a loaded handgun in his waistband.
It happened during morning latchkey at Stone Creek Elementary, near 63rd Street South and Woodlawn.
Derby Schools Superintendent Heather Bohaty said the man tried the front entrance before school opened for the day but could not get in.
“The individual then walked around the side of our building and attempted to get in a cafeteria entrance where our latchkey … was having their program,” she said.
“There was nothing alarming that staff noted at the time when the individual approached the door,” Derby Police Chief Robert Lee said. “Latchkey staff members denied their entry and motioned them toward the correct entrance.”
Bohaty said the man tried the front entrance again but was not allowed in. School had still not started for the day. She said he did not say anything to school employees andreturnedk to his car.
“This individual remained in their vehicle for a period of time,” she said. “When children were being dropped off for the school day, it was a parent that noticed the potential medical concern of this individual.”
The principal and the school nurse went to the man’s vehicle to check on him and said he appeared to be unconscious.
The district called 911 and placed the school into “Secure” status by locking all doors while still operating normally.”Secure” is one step in the district’s Standard Response Protocol to respond to possible safety threats.
“Since he was in his vehicle in the closest wing of the building, we went ahead and took extra protocol at that time to move — there was a single class that was going to be held in there — that class was moved to a different portion of our facility,” Bohaty said.
Police arrived at the school within five minutes and arrested the man. They say he had a loaded 9 mm handgun in his waistband. Derby Police Chief Robert Lee said the man was booked on suspicion of possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of a firearm on school property, having drug paraphernalia, and for an outstanding arrest warrant from another county.
No one was hurt, and classes continued as usual.
Lee is not releasing the man’s name yet but says he is a 35-year-old with a last known address of Latham in Butler County. Police are still trying to determine why the man was at the school. Officials say he does not have any children in Derby Public Schools.
Derby police will present the case to the district attorney’s office for possible charges.
Lee said they are constantly updating their school security measures.
“We learn from other lessons across the nation and are continually evolving our security response with the district with the ultimate goal of keeping our kids safe,” he said. “It doesn’t get any more important than that, and that is what our goal is.”
Bohaty says she is grateful to the staff, the parents, and the police.
“We have placed an emphasis on safety and security and including enhanced safety features and also the training of our staff,” she said. “Some of these measures were reflected today. The doors were locked so the individual could not gain access to the building, and staff knew what to do, and they did not let the individual in the building and then 911 was notified, and we had a timely response.”
“We really want to commend the parent that came in because they saw the individual out in the parking lot and reported that immediately and that prompted us to come out and check on the situation and make that 911 call today,” Bohaty said.